Possible round cairn on the top of the hill now surmounted by a trig point. A reservoir just touches the western edge of the mound which is made up of limestone rubble. 21 x 19m diameter with a height of 1.1m. (1)
The site, while probably partly natural, lies at the exact top of the hill and is the larger of two adjacent barrows only circa 9m apart (see SMR 6462 for the smaller barrow). It has a triangulation pillar on its summit and adjacent upcast may be from earlier disturbance. The very edges of the mound are being clipped by quarries in two places. This barrow is probably the site of an excavation by Bateman on 29th August 1848 previously ascribed to SMR 6417. Bateman dug at the centre finding the knoll partly comprised a natural knoll with a rock cut grave covered by slabs and containing a cist. This contained a human cremation with fragments of antler tine, a decayed child inhumation, two food vessels, cows teeth, two deer hooves and a flint. In a hole in the floor were a few bone fragments. Outside the cist was a fragment of skull. (2, 3)
In the early 1990s deep fissures appeared running through the two adjacent barrows. As a result of subsidence, the southern halves of both barrows started to move into the adjacent opencut of Deep Rake. In 1996, therefore, the barrows were extensively excavated by English Heritage's Central Excavation Services. The excavations showed that it was not, in fact, the larger of the two barrows that been dug into by Bateman but rather that it was the smaller barrow (SMR 6462). Evidence for extensive funerary/ritual activity was recovered from the larger barrow. (6)
Excavation of two irretrievably threatened Bronze Age barrows was completed in the summer of 1996 and revealed a major monument. The larger of the barrows demonstrated continuity of use as a site for burial and ritual commencing in the Neolithic and ceasing in the Romano-British period. The earliest phase was marked by an excarnation platform containing numerous sherds of Neolithic pottery and fragments of human bone. The bones represent all age groups and the assemblage recovered (small bones and fragments of long bones) indicates that bodies were exposed before the defleshed skeletons were collected for burial elsewhere. The Neolithic phase is followed by two, possibly three, phases of Beaker activity. Originally three graves were cut into the limestone and a corpse placed in each. Subsequently, the more central grave was deepened and a cist was constructed to contain the three skeletons which were gathered up and reburied. The cist was left uncovered for an unknown length of time before a small mound was constructed over the burial. During the Bronze Age, a Food Vessel burial was placed adjacent to the Beaker cist and a mound was then constructed over all the burials and the former excarnation enclosure. Various burials and cremations were placed within the mound throughout its construction, and a final burial was inserted in the eastern side of the mound during the Romano-British period. (7)
The larger of the two barrows was originally thought to have an excarnation platform beneath the cairn, but that is no longer believed to be the case. There was a lot of scattered human bone spanning quite a long date range, but the bone doesn't show the weathering that would be expected, had it been exposed. Instead, there seems to be an initial Neolithic phase with uncertain structural associations, followed by a Beaker cist grave which was in turn covered by the barrow mound associated with a Food Vessel cremation. Publication of the excavation is due to be submitted to the Derbyshire Archaeological Journal in 2011. (8)
Barrow 1 exhibited several phases of use in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, and was reused in later prehistory and the Romano-British period. The earliest human remains, which date to the 4th millennium cal BC, comprise some crushed bone on the land surface beneath the barrow mound. The form of the site in the Neolithic is unclear but it is possible that a low ring-cairn pre-dates the mound into which it was incorporated and belongs to the initial mortuary phase. Also pre-dating the main barrow is a cist grave containing disturbed remains of two individuals and fragments of a Beaker pot. The grave fill contained large quantities of small mammal bines, probably deriving owl pellets. Subsequently following the deposition of a Food Vessel cremation burial, the main barrow mound was constructed. (9)
Index: North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust (NDAT). North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust Index: 1340. 1340.
Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1861. Ten Years' Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave Hills. pp 42-3.
Unpublished document: Barnatt, J. 1989. The Peak District Barrow Survey (updated 1994). Site 4:9.
Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 6431.1-44.
Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). 1996. Photo PDNPA SMR 1996 6431.45-52. 6431.45-52.
Article in serial: Barnatt, J. 1999. 'Taming the land: Peak District farming and ritual in the Bronze Age', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 119, pp 19-78. p 61.
*Internet Web Site: 1996-97. '4.13.1: Longstone Edge, Derbyshire, excavation for management', Archaeology Review. www.eng-h.gov.uk/archrev.
Correspondence: Last, J (English Heritage). 2011. Email to the HER officer regarding 'Barrows at Longstone Edge, Derbyshire', 26th of January, 2011.
Article in serial: Last, J (English Heritage). 2014. 'The excavation of two round barrows on Longstone Edge, Derbyshire', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal.
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Centred SK 2088 7340 (20m by 19m) (Approximate)
GREAT LONGSTONE, DERBYSHIRE DALES, DERBYSHIRE
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Jul 22 2015 2:30PM
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